As we age, many things begin to stretch and wrinkle; the eyelids are no exception. They become droopy and unpleasant-looking, and the muscles begin to weaken; the more the muscles weaken, the more room there is for excess fat to collect above and below the eyelids, which makes the appearance of drooping lids and bags under the eyes. If the sagging is severe enough, it can impair vision. This goes without saying, but many people are self-conscious about this, and some do have it worse than others. Blepharoplasty can reverse or reduce the appearance of these effects around the eyes.

The Ideal Candidate
Blepharoplasty is not for everyone. Individuals who experience the following problems will be a good candidate for this type of surgery: if you have baggy or puffy upper eyelids, those with excess skin on the upper eyelid that ultimately interferes with vision, droopy lower eyelids, excess skin on the lower eyelids, or bags under the eyes. It is important for an individual to be in good health before undertaking this surgery. Those with circulatory, ophthalmological, or other serious medical conditions should seriously think about, along with listening to the professional expertise of the doctor, whether or not this surgery is a good idea.

The Surgery

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery, is typically done on an outpatient basis. There is always a pre-surgical consultation, and the doctor will examine you and ask questions related to vision, tear production, use of contact lenses, and your desired outcome of the surgery. Your doctor will get a complete medical history from you, and inform you of everything you need to know about the surgery.

During the surgery
For upper eyelid surgery, the physician will make incisions along the creases of the upper eyelid (doing it on these lines already there, the incisions will be more concealed), and after this, excess fat, muscle, and skin is removed. Very tiny sutures are used to close the incision. For surgery of the lower eyelid, the process of very similar, but the incisions will be made along the lashline and on the lower eyelid. Puffiness caused by excess fat can be removed by doing a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, in which the incision is made inside the lower eyelid to remove the fat. The whole thing takes roughly 2 hours.

Immediately after the surgery, the surgeon will apply very tiny sterile bandages (except in transconjunctival blepharoplasty). An ointment to prevent dryness must also be used. A little swelling and bruising is normal, since there is slight trauma to the eye. As an individual recovering from this surgery, lying down with your head elevated and with a cold compress will speed the healing process and make it feel better. Medication will be prescribed to reduce pain as well. For a week after, the eyes may feel sticky, dry, and itchy, and a cleaning solution should be applied to the eye area every day. There may be certain activities and environments that the surgeon recommends you avoid. Stitches (unless they’re self-dissolving) will be removed within 3-5 days after surgery.

Blepharoplasty is not typically covered by insurance if the sole purpose of the procedure is to lift the eyelids. However, if it is done at the same time as another procedure, such as a brow-lift, face-lift, or skin resurfacing, it may very well be somewhat covered by insurance. Everyone’s insurance plan is different. In fact, the cost will vary greatly because it may require the reduction of fatty tissue, muscle, and/or, skin; depending on the extent of the individual’s needs, the cost will change. There are three costs that add up to make the total cost: anesthesia fees, surgeon fees, and facility fees. The total price can range anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, but keep in mind that this is just guesstimate. Insurance may or may not cover some or any of this. In most facilities and with most surgeons, payment plans are available.

Risks and Side Effects
There is not a surgery in which risks are not involved; in everything we do, there is a potential risk. For blepharoplasty, side effects and risks include infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, temporary numbness of the eyelid skin, dry and irritated eyes, temporary vision changes, impaired eyelid function, scarring, and this is very rare, but the risk of blindness due to bleeding behind the eye. It is always important to have a thorough discussion with your doctor about the risks involved with blepharoplasty and to discuss whether or not it is right for you.

Last updated on May 23rd, 2011 and filed under Plastic Surgery. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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